Don Robbins, Olympic Lifting Coach

We are fortunate to have the presence of Don Robbins in our box to offer Olympic Lifting coaching to our trainers as well as help out with the weekly Oly Club Classes.


I switched from Baseball (catcher) to Olympic Weightlifting at age 16, and I competed in Olympic Weightlifting for ten years (age 16 to 26). Some highlights of my early lifting days are:

  • Lifetime best lifts (lb) – 330 snatch,   413 C&J,   400 Power Clean, 625×2 Oly-style Back Squat
  • 1988 US National Weightlifting Championships (242 lb class, silver medal)
  • 1988 Qualified for and competed in the Final Trials for a spot on the 1988 Olympic team
  • Four time National Collegiate Champion 1981-1985
  • 1981 – Broke the US National Junior record in the snatch (198 lb class, 304 lb snatch, 19 yrs old)
  • 1981-1988 Trained at the Nation Strength Research Center (Auburn Univ.) under Dr. Mike Stone

I retired from weightlifting at age 26 to pursue my Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics at Virginia Tech.

After being sedentary for 24 years, I decided in 2012 to start training and competing again in the Olympic lifting. So far, I have competed in three meets (two first place finishes, and one second place finish). I have two goals for my Olympic lifting the second time around:

  • Qualify to compete in the US National Weightlifting Championships (in the past 20 years, only two 50+ year old lifters have qualified to compete in this meet), and
  • Break the national masters records in the 50-55 year old division in the 105 kg class.

Regarding coaching, I enjoy teaching people how to perform the Olympic lifts correctly in addition to all of the psychology that is necessary to achieve a true maximum effort in the lifts.